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article biology

Why are evolutionary biologists bringing back extinct deadly viruses

I just finished reading the wonderful New Yorker article¬†Darwin’s Surprise by Michael Specter. This is some of the most interesting reading around (at least in my opinion).

I should have been a biologist.

Nothing provides more convincing evidence for the “theory” of evolution than the viruses contained within our DNA. Until recently, the earliest available information about the history and the course of human diseases, like smallpox and typhus, came from mummies no more than four thousand years old. Evolution cannot be measured in a time span that short. Endogenous retroviruses provide a trail of molecular bread crumbs leading millions of years into the past.

And that trail appears to lead to the very roots of human existence and possibly to a cure for HIV/AIDS.

Categories
biology

Sagan on Evolution

The following is a clip from Cosmos, where the late Dr. Carl Sagan speaks about 4 billion years of evolution. In the background simple animations morph from one species to another illustrating the point.


Sagan on Evolution – YouTube]

Categories
religion Science

Science vs. Religion in the United States

A recently released Gallup Poll indicates that more Americans accept theory of creationism than the science of evolution.

I have to ask myself, is it because those pesky scientists have been wrong about so many things or because religion has been so particularly good at teaching us about the way the world is?

The data from several recent Gallup studies suggest that Americans’ religious behavior is highly correlated with beliefs about evolution. Those who attend church frequently are much less likely to believe in evolution than are those who seldom or never attend.

I’d be interested if there is also a correlation between those that finish high school and those that trust the science behind the theory of evolution, and again between those that go on to University and if they believe in so called “intelligent design” or evolution.

The data indicate some seeming confusion on the part of Americans on this issue. About a quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution’s explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago.

Quite frankly, no matter which side of the debate you take, you have to admit the data indicate that about a quarter of Americans are stupid.

Categories
religion Science

How Science Responds When Creationists Criticize Evolution

This is about ten years old, but I just discovered it recently and think it applies pretty much perfectly to a conversation I had only a week ago. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, there are still people who refuse to accept evolution as “science”.

How Science Responds When Creationists Criticize Evolution